How to Remember What You Read

You can recall what you read if you decide it matters enough to know and remember. Find the motivation to absorb information and improve retention.

You will need

  • Techniques
  • Purpose
  • Visualization
  • Focus

Step 1 Skim info Skim information slowly at first to remember what you read. Never use this as a primary means of absorbing information, but always as a preparation for gathering key points.

Step 2 Read word groups Read word groups rather than single words by developing the habit of snapping the eyes across or down the page.

Step 3 Categorize and associate Categorize and associate information you read with other knowledge in your life, to establish familiar cues for retrieving facts.

Step 4 Take notes Take succinct notes on significant facts and information when reading books or studying for exams. Say the words aloud to hear yourself and help commit it to memory. Repeat the process.

Step 5 Study with purpose Study with purpose and confidence, interacting with the material. Compare and contrast what is being memorized and paraphrase for simplified understanding. Grill yourself with questions to reinforce the lesson.

Step 6 Visualize to recall Visualize faces with names that have to be remembered. Link important dates in your assignment mentally by picturing significant calendar events, birthdays, or holidays near the newly learned dates.

Step 7 Keep single focus Concentrate with purpose on one thing at a time — a paragraph, a sentence, or a word. Disallow any distractions, focusing on the meaning, and test to make sure you have it before moving on.

Step 8 Pick the time of day Pay attention to the times of day when you’re most alert and schedule your study time accordingly. Work in short bursts at first to expand attention and grasp.